Although homoploid hybrid speciation is increasingly recognized as an important phenomenon in plant evolution, its role in adaptive radiations is poorly documented. We studied a clade of seven extant species of Scaevola that are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and show substantial ecological and morphological diversity. We estimated the genealogies for alleles isolated from multiple accessions of each species at four nuclear loci: the ITS region, and the introns of three nuclear genes, LEAFY (LFY), NITRATE REDUCTASE (NIA), and GLYCERALDEHYDE 3-PHOSPHATE DEHYDROGENASE (G3PDH). For five of the seven species, there was complete concordance among the genealogies estimated from the four loci and, when all four regions were combined, the relationships among these five species were fully resolved. Inclusion of alleles from the remaining two species, S. procera and S. kilaueae, resulted in incongruence among loci, which appears to reflect a history of hybridization. Based on the distribution of alleles, we infer that S. procera is the result of a homoploid hybrid speciation event between S. gaudichaudii and S. mollis and that S. kilaueae is probably the result of hybrid speciation between S. coriacea and S. chamissoniana. In each case the inferred hybridization is consistent with morphological, ecological, and geographic information. We conclude that homoploid hybrid speciation may be more common than is perceived and may play a role in generating novel combinations of adaptive traits that arise during island radiations.
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Vol. 59 • No. 5